Tell me about your destination wedding!

posted 2 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 2
231 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Our wedding was in my hometown Antalya. My husband and I live in the states, His whole family, family friends and most of his friends also live in the states. My side lives in Turkey and some of my friends lives in Europe. Our wedding was 200 people, 70 of them came from all around the world.

We got married in city hall and didn’t hide this from any one. In Antalya we had a Turkish ceremony. Turkey is a secular country so the wedding ceremony is not religious. My husband and I walked down the aisle together.

Planning was not stressful at all. I actually really enjoyed every step of it. I didn’t work with a wedding planner.

I mostly worked with the vendors that our venue recommended. The owner of the organization company was like a day of planner. She was with us the whole day, Instagram really helped me to get an idea of how they work. We mostly communicated through whazapp.

We sent the invitations 7 months before the wedding. Pretty much all of my husband’s older relatives couldn’t come since it was at least 10 hour flight. But one of his grandmothers made it. It was a bless to have her there.

Our venue was in the hotel so all our guests stayed there. We got a special pricing for our guests. Hotel also had airport service. Most guests arrived 3 days before the wedding.

As wedding favors, we gave a welcome bag to our guests who traveled for our wedding. These bags were put in our guests room by the hotel staff before the guests arrive. The bags were hand made by mother’s friend. We put a Turkish style beach towel, Turkish delight, Rose water and rose cream, fresh nut mix, and home made fig jam in them. There was a welcome note with some schedule info in the bag.

We went to Antalya 10 days before the wedding to run some errands and spend time with the family. Plus I got my wedding gown altered in Antalya which took only 2 days. And my husband bought his tux from Antalya.

We hosted a boat tour on Mediterranean two days before our wedding day. We didn’t invite all of our guests to this event. Only my family, cousins, uncle aunts, guests coming from abroad and close friends were invited. We were less than 100 people on the boat. Since all my family lives there we did potluck on the boat. This helped our guests spend time together and know each other. Plus we spend the whole day on the boat, drinking eating and swimming.

Most of our guests combined our wedding with their vacation. After our wedding, some of them stayed in Antalya, took a road trip and enjoyed the Mediterranean, some of them went to Europe.

Recently I have been reading some people complaining about the money that they spend and the vacation time that they have to take for destination weddings. Luckily non of our guests thought that way. They were all excited to spend time with us and celebrate our marriage. No one is forced to come to the wedding. If this is too much for them we absolutely understand it.

Good luck with planning!

Post # 3
27 posts
  • Wedding: November 2017

Just back from our intimate destination wedding on Maui! I found the process super fun and exciting. In the beginning of planning I just emailed a bunch of venue locations and resorts to get approx pricing, packages, etc. Once I nailed down my venue, they had an intimate wedding package that fit my budget which included a wedding planner with it. I was a very hands on bride on personal little touches, but we did do a fairly simple wedding letting the venue really shine through. 

We had our parents, siblings and two of our closest friends there. It was stress free and wonderful! We only invited 10 and the 10 we invited all ended up coming. I will say the wedding planner was a great help selecting vendors, working out details and working out day of coordination. Definitely if not hiring a wedding planner get a day of coordinator. They are worth their weight in gold! Our wedding licensing agent didn’t show the morning of our wedding and she got us into another that afternoon right before the ceremony! 

We didn’t get hotel blocks, instead since such a small guest list the parents just ended up renting out big condos on the Ocean, much cheaper and more flexible as well. None of our party had ever traveled to Maui before, and we did not go before to scope out locations. I did it all with online research and lots of reviews. In the end I am so pleased with how it turned out. It was so beautiful. 

Post # 4
7097 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m a Destination Wedding Photographer in a domestic Destination Wedding location. Most of my couples rent a giant oceanfront beach house to stay in and either then book a separate venue or host their wedding AT the beach house (provided it’s a designated event home by the rental company). No matter what area you choose, I would highly suggest a wedding planner or at the least a day of coordinator. They are completely worth their weight in gold when it comes to vendor suggestions and just how to navigate planning a wedding in an unfamiliar area.

Post # 5
2290 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

We are getting married in Banff in October of 2018. It’s about a 14-16 hour drive from where we live. We’re on the fence at this point about whether we want to fly or drive; since we’ll need a car either way, and most of the landscape between here and there is lovely, I am arguing we drive. Still duking it out on that one, though.

I spent about 5 days in the area alone before I met FH. We discussed taking a trip up prior to the wedding but he said he trusted my judgment and didn’t need to see it in person prior to the wedding.

We are hiring a local photographer, but I’m doing everything else myself. It’s going to be super small (less than 20 people) so I am not too concerned that logistics are going to be an issue.

It’s just the most beautiful place I have ever been, so I can’t wait to have my best day ever right there.

Post # 6
688 posts
Busy bee

I’m not sure if this classifies as a destination wedding but i’m getting married in Tofino, BC which is about… 5 hours and a ferry ride away from me; further for many of my guests. Haven’t actually had the wedding yet

I’m an avid surfer so very familiar with the town. Planning is more stressful simply because I cannot easily meet most of the caterers/florists/etc. I am going to arrange a trip in the new year to meet people but it is definitely a larger hassle. I did hire a wedding planner to take care of the coordination in town. Hotels is another issue; Tofino isn’t a huge town and it is BUSY in the summer, accommodations sell out immediately. I booked (on my own dollar) accommodations for about 40 people. Most will reimburse me but I can’t necessarily rely on that and it is an extra expense I hadn’t really considered.

Many of my invited guests won’t come; most of my family lives in ontario. I estimate 80-100 people will show up.

Post # 7
7025 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I got married 7h drive away from where we live (half way between the 2 major cities where most of our families live). We were lucky enough to be able to schedule a few (very well organized and structured) trips out there. First we narrowed down all our venues via the interwebz, contacted the ones we were interested in and set up venue tours. My photographer is based in both our city and the city we got married in, so I was able to meet her at home. We picked our caterers blind – mostly based on communication, price and menu. 

We hired a DOC only because I didn’t want to have to worry about that stuff day of, but she didn’t plan anything. I found the planning pretty easy, between emails and phone calls I didn’t need to meet with people very often. 

We were pressured by Mother-In-Law to invite WAY over what we were intially going to (65). We ended up inviting 130, mostly rando obscure family from far away. 65 came lol. 

Our wedding venue is a villa that you can stay on site (7bdrm) and do the wedding ceremony/reception in the back. So that helped a lot. We arrived on Friday, set up, had our Rehearsal Dinner and were all ready for the Saturday wedding. We also hired a decorater – besides my DOC, probably the BEST idea I had! She did SO MUCh and it looked SO GOOD. And she came back the next day to pack everything up too!

Post # 8
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Im planning and wedding in Italy, so any Italy stories/help/advice would be great.

Im still at early stages, we have booked a venue search trip for April, and I have done a lot of research, narrowed down venues to about 20 i like 🙈

Post # 9
27 posts

I got married in Cancun Mexico on 10/28/17.

I was able to plan the wedding in only a few months!  Each hotel has their own wedding coordinator onsite; we never went to the property to look and just relied on reviews.  

We invited about 80 people to our wedding, in the end 55 total came.  It was a perfect size and the wedding total was about $16,000 which did not include our room/flights and extras.  

I never used a TA or room blocks for the wedding; we simply had guests book their own way.  No one ever had an issue beccause it was their own way of booking and everyone saved a lot of money.  I’ve heard horror stories of brides who used TA’s that screwed over their guests and never matched lower prices.  I’ve also heard brides who have had room blocks and were not able to book all of the rooms so then had to pay for them.  These are horror stories that I took to heart when deciding to not use a TA and Room blocks.  Yes there are brides that can get $$ back and perhaps room credit but to be honest those brides were “still waiting” for that money months after their wedding.  I can’t even confirm if they got it!

Whenever you decide “Where” you want your wedding make sure you look on Facebook at the groups to join.  I am still a member of “Cancun Brides” but everyone is able to give you great advice and you can see where they got married.  


Here are some shots of us in Cancun Mexico at Dreams Sands Cancun 🙂 

And yes, I had to have a tequila donkey!!!  Lupito was the best

Post # 10
10 posts
  • Wedding: May 2018

I am getting married in Hawaii this May. I’ve been actively planning since Nov of last year. Starting out as trying to narrow down a location. (We live in Seattle, Wa). First we decided on Cancun, then Cabo and went with Hawaii instead. We wanted a non-resort venue that could occupy up to 250 people. I am also a member of Cancun Brides and still am even I chose Hawaii after all. In fact, I started my own group called Hawaii Brides too. I would just look for groups that work for you. Like mentioned above, you can still learn a lot from the other brides.

If you decide on a non-resort venue, I would highly suggest looking for one that includes a lot. This will help needing less vendors which means less money to spend and a lot less stressful. For example, my venue the YWCA Oahu aka Cafe Julia is only 1000 for a Friday wedding and includes all the tables, choice of espresso or gold chiavari chairs, white linen, strung lights. Food is served buffet style at either 55 or 65 pp (either 2 or 3 entree, app, salad etc.) and includes all the plates, utensils, cups, water, coffee and tea, bread and butter. And the venue is gorgeous enough, I don’t need any floral arrangements except whatever I choose for center pieces. 

All I’m left with needing is a photographer, videographer, photo booth, center pieces, bouquets and leis.

I have planned all of this on my own for the past year.. I recently started to look for a day of coordinator and realized for a couple of hundred dollars more I could hire her and her team for partial planning as well. So, I did. And I am actually saving money because as a planner, which means she’s recurrent customer, she can get things at a discount that I can’t on my own. Plus, she knows the in’s and out’s of the Island and all their vendors. I only know what I can google.

We are using Uber for transportation and letting our guests book their flights and hotels however they want.

The whole process hasn’t really been that stressful. I think finding a location and venue was the most difficult decision yet.

I think this can be as easy and relaxing as you want it to be. I hope you find your location soon. For me, that was like the aha moment, like I know exactly where to go from here.

Happy planning!!

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